The word Ayni represents balance or right relationship in the Quechan language. (The language of the mountain people in Peru) and Despacho meaning to give back represents a prayer bundle. So an ayni despacho is really about bringing balance, about honouring and gratitude.
In Peru when you take a journey with the Q’ero shaman for example in the mountains every day when you stop to make camp a despacho is created in a gathering of all participants to say thank you for getting us this far, for supporting us to this point in our journey.
Ceremony is not about worshipping it is really about coming back to ourselves, about creating a space where we can be quiet for a few moments to contemplate where we are on our journey of life. A chance to say thanks you, even if it is for what we may consider the smallest thing.
There is a basic layout for the despacho and below are some ideas for your offering, but remember there are no “rules” about what goes into a despacho. What matters is your intent. Do not get caught up in the details.
You will need
A large piece of paper white or coloured, this is the envelope of dreams. You fold this into thirds both horizontally and vertically so that nine squares are formed. The central square is where your offerings are placed.
Red wine for honouring the earth
White wine or vodka for honouring the mountain spirits /the Great Spirit (the great spirit is the force know by many names but that remains nameless)
You can use water; it is your intent that is important.
Take the 2 small cups and offer them outside to heaven (the sky: the sun) and to the earth.
Quinto – this can be made of bay leaves or mint leaves or rose leaves. Take 3 leaves facing up with the stem pointing down. They represent the lower, middle and upper worlds. Power, love intellect/mind, past self, present self, becoming self-knowledge wisdom and availability.
Red and white petals, representing the earth and spirit respectively take one of each.
Breath the most important act of doing the despacho is the active prayer of engaging the sacred. Here you feel the prayer as if is already within you, this is the point where you tell the leaves who you really are.
Right hand and clockwise everything goes in the despacho with your right hand and in a clockwise direction.
Sugar represents love and is placed in the 4 corners or the middle square to call in the 4 cardinal points that represent the organizing principles of the universe, make a small southern cross in the center “what is in heaven is reflected back to me” the southern cross acts for the people united before the individual.
Sage stimulates the power of directed and focused action.
Red wine/white wine call on the earth to bless the prayers “ be with us, thank you mother earth for our lives”
Then white wine to the mountains, spirit, dip a flower in both and sprinkle over despacho.
Rice sprinkle over this represents fertility, abundance to bring prayers into fruition.
Quintos place onto this foundation layer. There are various configurations that can be used. Take 7 quintos to represent the South, West, North and East. Heaven, Earth and all living things.
Sugar cover this layer with a good amount of sugar
Shell in the centre to represent the womb of the earth our source and birthplace
Figurine or flower to represent male and female to represent the complimentary opposites.
Every thing after this is your choice.
We normally include something to represent the book of life already written and the book to be written and the wisdom of the earth and mountains that is available to us.
Something to represent the tools of modern day, cars, technology, the tools that we have available to us to transcend the journey of our work. This can be a simple thing like a flower. Remember it is your intention as you place the items in to your prayer bundle.
Something to represent the sun and moon
Seeds can be used to signify readiness to bring harmony and balance to all of our relations and to all opposites.
Something to represent our star brothers and sisters.
Rolled up foil as a flute that represents sound the primal engagement with the universe. Sound has more information and is more complete than sight. It brings the full blossoming of manifestation.
Raisins can represent our ancestors.
An acorn to represent unborn potential
Add an old leaf to represent death. Death is essential for the renewal of life and occurs many times within one lifetime.
Then add something to represent success and abundance.
All these things make up the feast for your prayers to ride upon. As you add things to the despacho remember you can add more Quintos as more prayers come into your consciousness.
Once you have placed all your items in the despacho, the entire contents are usually encircled with a long thread often the colour of the rainbow. This is to weave our prayers in to harmony. We seek to create energy to manifest our prayers.
Then folding the paper over the contents right third first then left third, then bottom up and top down so you have a bundle with all your prayers in the centre. The bundle is then tied with white and yellow yarn representing white for clarity and yellow for harmony. Again you can use what you have available. Then place a final Quinto under the yarn to represent all your forgotten prayers.
Then wrapped in a cloth the despacho is used to gently cleanse the energy body of each person by passing it gently over the physical body, although this is not always possible. The ayni despacho should always be kept face up do not turn it upside down.
Then the despacho is either buried in the earth (for slow, steady results) or burned (for transformation) or fed to the running waters as soon as possible after is has been prepared.
When burning a despacho participants generally do not look towards the fire until the offering is burned. This symbolizes non- attachment to the outcome and a release of all claims to that, which has been given.
Despachos can be used for births, weddings, to honour those who have departed this lifetime. In fact they can be used at any time you wish to give thanks or to honour or to call in balance to an area of your life. Or when you are making big changes in your life.
It is a wonderful tool and incredibly powerful. I have made many despachos using only items from nature, so for example you can take a large leaf from a tree using this as your base and then gathering from nature those items that reflect for you the prayers and the reason you are creating your despacho.